162 Orchard St btw Stanton and Rivington St, Lower East Side
The Place: A cider bar! A bar dedicated to cider! A cider-focused restaurant and bar that has a name I don’t know how to pronounce!
The Time: Wednesday May 3, 9:45pm. I took a class nearby and after, I was feeling like a chill night out with myself. Wassail has been on my radar since I got really into cider about a year ago, so I figured no time like the present!
The Vibe: I walk in and it’s got that urban minimalist thing going: unmarked taps, marble, steel, dark wood. The bar itself is big, and there are tables in the back and on the side. The front wall of the bar is all windows so during the day there’d be lots of beautiful light flooding in. It’s not too crowded for this time of night, mostly couples on dates and groups at tables. The lighting is soft but bright enough to read a book (or in the case of the couple to my right, to check out if your date actually looks like their Tinder pics). It’s totally pleasant and I’m happy to be here.
The Bartender: A nice man with glasses who takes a little while to show up, but when he does, he is very helpful and knowledgable. I spy a total of two people who work here, so he’s forgiven for not being behind the bar all the time because he has other shit to do too.
The Drank: A cider called Phonograph Baccata from New York, $11. It’s dry but still really fruity which is a miracle to me because I find a lot of ciders to be too sweet. I’ve been watching a lot of Scandal lately so drinking out of a goblet-sized wine glass really channels my inner Olivia Pope. “I love it, thank you!” I call to the bartender and he pops up from the other side of the bar and says “you like it? Oh good!” The cider flight is absolutely the thing to do with a friend or a partner. I’d love to try all their draught ciders but I am not drinking all of that by myself on a Wednesday. Also one of their boilermakers is a shot of amaro + sidra and I think I’m in love because those are two of my favorite things.
Was I Hit On? Nope. I can read in peace. Though I get a little nervous when Eye of the Tiger starts playing, and the two guys at the other end of the bar start singing along very loudly when the chorus comes on. Dudes, go to Hair of the Dog, it’s just down the street.
Should You Drink Here Alone? For sure. Wassail is a cider-lover and a solo-lady’s dream bar, especially in a neighborhood like the Lower East Side. I’m already planning my return, and you should be planning your visit.
*UPDATE* Wassail is now closed :(